Published March 4, 2020: There’s no getting around it: since January, the world has been dealing with the global outbreak of coronavirus. Also known as COVID-19, this represents a huge concern to all of us in the travel industry. There are different points of view about the threat to individuals with the virus, but the disruption to travel norms cannot be denied. At Pure Adventures, we’ve been monitoring the situation closely, and we wanted to provide some clarity for prospective travelers wanting to stay safe and informed.
Clearly, this is a dynamic situation and the outlook changes daily. Therefore our first recommendation is to take a “watch and wait” approach. While some of our destinations are currently unaffected, others like Italy are under travel advisories. If you have concerns about a trip you’ve booked, we remain hopeful that the efforts of public health officials and governments will bring the spread under control and restore order to a point where travel to affected destinations is once again responsible, relaxing, and fun.
To make the waiting easier, we have been working with our partners abroad to adopt a thirty-day advance notice rebooking and modified cancellation policy. Some airlines too are recognizing the wisdom of this approach and relaxing their rebooking fees. What this means simply is that you can watch and wait up to 30 days prior to the scheduled start of your trip to see if things are good to go as scheduled, or rebook your tour to start later in 2020 or 2021, with no fees. We can in some cases issue a full refund should you wish to cancel altogether.
Our primary hope is that you rebook your trip in the future. This shows support for the many small businesses that contribute to the operation of a trip, across many destinations, and that are adopting more flexible cancellation policies during this challenging time.
If you are considering travel this year and are holding off because of the current uncertainty, we are fortunate that our self-guided model gives us flexibility, so we can work on scheduling trips at the last minute once things clear up, and if you are rescheduling your trip that is already booked we can move it forward even if exact dates are unknown right now.
We are concerned of course for our travelers’ personal safety, but also for your experience of travel to a destination, and in that destination, as well as the return home. If you are to book now for some time in the near future, you have the option of getting added travel insurance, which is time sensitive from the date of booking. We always recommend travel insurance to our guests, but for added cost and peace of mind, you can add the Cancel for Any Reason option offered by our partners at InsureMyTrip.
While we stay in close contact with our partners on the ground, we’d also like to recommend that people watch credible and reputable sources of information. The following websites are useful to everyone concerned:
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers Covid-19 travel updates by country and also has hygiene and prevention tips
- The World Health Organization has daily situation reports
- The United States Department of State offer travel advisories by country
We’re travel experts, not doctors, so the best we can do is to help you make an informed decision, and give you the most flexibility we can for you to make a change if necessary. We have been at this for over 25 years and have been through Sept 11, the 2008 economic crisis, and other smaller events. This too shall pass, and we will be here to help you get out and experience the world!
Loren, Mar, and the Pure Adventures Team
UPDATE: April 14, 2020
Since we were very early to bring some clarity to our customers with the above message, the whole world has come under a quarantine of some kind. Travel appears to be one of the hardest hit industries globally. As of this writing, the vast majority of travelers who were booked to travel before the pandemic declaration have rebooked to 2021. A few have cancelled altogether. Our recommendation to all booked travelers is to rebook, but depending on when you travel – wait to see how business and eventually travel come back. Fall travelers have a lot of time to wait still.
For those people who rebook, we are applying 100% of trip deposits to the future travel. We do not need your new trip dates yet. For those who are cancelling altogether, there are cancel fees which vary from trip to trip.
If you are considering to travel later this year, we encourage you to ask questions, get information – even now as our daily volume is quite slow and it is a good time if you are in the mood to discuss future travel. We cannot predict how travel will be different, but we do want to encourage people to take your time before making plans and include Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance in your budgeting. This CFAR coverage will give you all the peace you need when making your decision to leave home again!